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Shopify is testing a new universal search feature

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But the new feature could hurt merchants who decide not to pay to rank higher in results.

Google may have a new shopping competitor on its hands. Shopify is testing a new feature in its app that allows customers to search across all merchants on the platform.

How it works. The new “Search for anything” search box enables you to search for items previously purchased, merchants matching the search term, and products sold by any Shopify merchants.

Thanks to Glen Gabe for pointing this out to us on Twitter.

The new Shopify marketplace. It seems that Shopify has changed its viewpoint on whether or not to become a marketplace. In 2021, Shopify’s president Harley Finkelstein said it did not have plans to be a marketplace. But with their new search test, they are, in fact, becoming a marketplace.

The test is rolling out to a limited number of users. We have no word on who will have access to the search feature, how long it will run, or if it will ever be released globally. “Current and former Shopify employees said it was unclear whether the company would ever roll it out to a wider audience, as internal debate continues about whether the feature would hurt merchants,” says Madeline Stone at Business Insider.

Why we care. The new universal search feature could mean that Shopify merchants will need to start paying to appear first in search results or start planning their SEO strategy. Furthermore, app users and shoppers will only see results from stores on the app, which could limit the options shown for certain products. This may not be an issue, though, since there are over 4 million stores built on the platform. It may also entice sellers to move their stores from other ecommerce platforms.

If you are interested in original article by Nicole Farley you can find it here

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Google announces 4 new Shopping campaign features

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Merchants and advertisers can now add additional information and attributes to their shopping campaigns, including expected delivery dates.

Ahead of the holiday season, Google just announced four new features for advertisers to implement in their ad campaigns and merchant feeds.

  • Conversion value rules for store sales and store visits
  • Product-specific insights
  • Deals Content API
  • Shipping & Returns Annotations

Conversion value rules for store sales and store visits. Advertisers can now set store visits or sales default values at the campaign level. Google says searches for “store open” have grown by over 400% YoY, so advertisers should optimize their in-store shopping experiences as well as online.

To make it easier for shoppers to find your store, Google suggests keeping your Google Business Profile up to date with your store address and hours. Then grow your store foot traffic by promoting your location to shoppers in the area using Performance Max campaigns for store goals – such as in-store promotions or specials. Smart Bidding can be used to set goals for visits and/or sales.

Product-specific insights. Product-specific insights are available at the account level and help advertisers spot underperforming offers, identify products with missing feed attributes, and compare bidding with your top competitors.

Product insights work on shopping and Performance Max campaigns and are intended to leverage ads performance data to optimize products and provide visibility on what actions to take to fix issues.

Deals Content API. Google says that 55% of shoppers surveyed planned on holding off on buying items until they were on sale.

The Deals Content API is intended to make uploading and managing deals easier at scale.

Merchants and advertisers can now add their sales and promotions to their listings via the Content API, which makes it even easier for merchants to upload and manage their deals at scale.

The Deals Content API had already been launched, but Google had not officially announced it.

Shipping & Returns Annotations. Merchants will now be able to list the expected delivery date (dynamic) (“Delivery by XX/YY”) and free returns right on their ads.

Google notes that 3 in 10 consumers are concerned about stock issues. Adding estimated delivery times can alleviate these concerns and help shoppers stress less and convert more. Advertisers can also easily add their return policies.

Shopping campaign best practices. Google has also outlined some best practices to help advertisers and merchants get ready for the holiday shopping season. To get the most out of your shopping or Performance Max campaigns, Google suggests:

  • Maximize your reach by showing your ads to shoppers who search for terms related to your keywords using broad match and Smart Bidding.
  • Use responsive search ads to tailor your messaging based on shoppers’ search terms. 
  • Harness the power of your Google Merchant Center product feed with YouTube Video action campaigns and Discovery ads, which present new shoppable opportunities for your brand in moments of inspiration and discovery. 
  • Promote your app to shoppers across Google’s largest properties such as Search, Google Play, YouTube and more with App campaigns and give users a seamless web-to-app purchase experience by setting up deep links

Read the announcement. You can read the full announcement from Google and learn more information and best practices here.

Why we care. Ecommerce merchants and advertisers who sell during the holidays should start setting up and testing these new features right away. Don’t wait until the holiday season is already here to begin planning and implementation.

Expected shipping and delivery dates will be especially important as shoppers worry about supply chain issues and an uncertain economy.

If you are interested in original article by Nicole Farley you can find it here

New-Report-Looks-at-Key-eCommerce-Trends-and-Approaches-Infographic

New Report Looks at Key eCommerce Trends and Approaches

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As more retailers look to eCommerce, and the opportunities of online shopping, it’s valuable to note the latest online store trends, to get a benchmark as to how your business is placed, and what the industry norms are in terms of product listings, advertising approaches, etc.

This new report from DataFeedWatch provides some perspective on this, based on analysis of over 15,000 shops in more than 60 regions.

As explained by DFW:

“The Feed Marketing Report 2022 has been created with one goal in mind: to provide every eCommerce marketer – a marketing agency professional, an in-house PPC specialist, an online store owner – with actionable insight into the very foundations of eCommerce campaigns.”

There’s a heap to take in, which could help you shape your eCommerce strategy.

You can download the full ‘Feed Marketing Report 2022’ here, or take a look at the infographic overview below.

If you are interested in original article by Andrew Hutchinson you can find it here

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Basics Of JavaScript SEO For Ecommerce: What You Need To Know

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Leverage JavaScript in the most effective way possible while upholding your site’s ranking in the SERPs.

JavaScript (JS) is extremely popular in the ecommerce world because it helps create a seamless and user-friendly experience for shoppers.

Take, for instance, loading items on category pages, or dynamically updating products on the site using JS.

While this is great news for ecommerce sites, JavaScript poses several challenges for SEO pros.

Google is consistently working on improving its search engine, and a big part of its effort is dedicated to making sure its crawlers can access JavaScript content.

But, ensuring that Google seamlessly crawls JS sites isn’t easy.

In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know about JS SEO for ecommerce and how you can improve your organic performance.

Let’s begin!

How JavaScript Works For Ecommerce Sites

When building an ecommerce site, developers use HTML for content and organization, CSS for design, and JavaScript for interaction with backend servers.

JavaScript plays three prominent roles within ecommerce websites.

1. Adding Interactivity To A Web Page

The objective of adding interactivity is to allow users to see changes based on their actions, like scrolling or filling out forms.

For instance: a product image changes when the shopper hovers the mouse over it. Or hovering the mouse makes the image rotate 360 degrees, allowing the shopper to get a better view of the product.

All of this enhances user experience (UX) and helps buyers decide on their purchases.

JavaScript adds such interactivity to sites, allowing marketers to engage visitors and drive sales.

2. Connecting To Backend Servers

JavaScript allows better backend integration using Asynchronous JavaScript (AJAX) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).

It allows web applications to send and retrieve data from the server asynchronously while upholding UX.

In other words, the process doesn’t interfere with the display or behavior of the page.

Otherwise, if visitors wanted to load another page, they would have to wait for the server to respond with a new page. This is annoying and can cause shoppers to leave the site.

So, JavaScript allows dynamic, backend-supported interactions – like updating an item and seeing it updated in the cart – right away.

Similarly, it powers the ability to drag and drop elements on a web page.

3. Web Tracking And Analytics

JavaScript offers real-time tracking of page views and heatmaps that tell you how far down people are reading your content.

For instance, it can tell you where their mouse is or what they clicked (click tracking).

This is how JS powers tracking user behavior and interaction on webpages.

How Do Search Bots Process JS?

Google processes JS in three stages, namely: crawling, rendering, and indexing.

URL crawl processImage from Google Search Central, September 2022

As you can see in this image, Google’s bots put the pages in the queue for crawling and rendering. During this phase, the bots scan the pages to assess new content.

When a URL is retrieved from the crawl queue by sending an HTTP request, it first accesses your robots.txt file to check if you’ve permitted Google to crawl the page.

If it’s disallowed, the bots will ignore it and not send an HTTP request.

In the second stage, rendering, the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files are processed and transformed into a format that can be easily indexed by Google.

In the final stage, indexing, the rendered content is added to Google’s index, allowing it to appear in the SERPs.

Common JavaScript SEO Challenges With Ecommerce Sites

JavaScript crawling is a lot more complex than traditional HTML sites.

The process is quicker in the case of the latter.

Check out this quick comparison.

Traditional HTML Site CrawlingJavaScript Crawling
1Bots download the HTML file1Bots download the HTML file
2They extract the links to add them to their crawl queue2They find no link in the source code because they are only injected after JS execution
3They download the CSS files3Bots download CSS and JS files
4They send the downloaded resources to Caffeine, Google’s indexer4Bots use the Google Web Rendering Service (WRS) to parse and execute JS
5Voila! The pages are indexed5WRS fetches data from the database and external APIs
6Content is indexed
7Bots can finally discover new links and add them to the crawl queue

Thus, with JS-rich ecommerce sites, Google finds it tough to index content or discover links before the page is rendered.

In fact, in a webinar on how to migrate a website to JavaScript, Sofiia Vatulyak, a renowned JS SEO expert, shared,

“Though JavaScript offers several useful features and saves resources for the web server, not all search engines can process it. Google needs time to render and index JS pages. Thus, implementing JS while upholding SEO is challenging.”

Here are the top JS SEO challenges ecommerce marketers should be aware of.

Limited Crawl Budget

Ecommerce websites often have a massive (and growing!) volume of pages that are poorly organized.

These sites have extensive crawl budget requirements, and in the case of JS websites, the crawling process is lengthy.

Also, outdated content, such as orphan and zombie pages, can cause a huge wastage of the crawl budget.

Limited Render Budget

As mentioned earlier, to be able to see the content loaded by JS in the browser, search bots have to render it. But rendering at scale demands time and computational resources.

In other words, like a crawl budget, each website has a render budget. If that budget is spent, the bot will leave, delaying the discovery of content and consuming extra resources.

Google renders JS content in the second round of indexing.

It’s important to show your content within HTML, allowing Google to access it.

first round of indexing URL pathwayImage from Google Search Central, September 2022

Go to the Inspect element on your page and search for some of the content. If you cannot find it there, search engines will have trouble accessing it.

Troubleshooting Issues For JavaScript Websites Is Tough

Most JS websites face crawlability and obtainability issues.

For instance, JS content limits a bot’s ability to navigate pages. This affects its indexability.

Similarly, bots cannot figure out the context of the content on a JS page, thus limiting their ability to rank the page for specific keywords.

Such issues make it tough for ecommerce marketers to determine the rendering status of their web pages.

In such a case, using an advanced crawler or log analyzer can help.

Tools like Semrush Log File Analyzer, Google Search Console Crawl Stats, and JetOctopus, among others, offer a full-suite log management solution, allowing webmasters to better understand how search bots interact with web pages.

JetOctopus, for instance, has JS rendering functionality.

Check out this GIF that shows how the tool views JS pages as a Google bot.

How google bot sees content on your pageScreenshot from JetOctopus, September 2022

Similarly, Google Search Console Crawl Stats shares a useful overview of your site’s crawl performance.

google search console crawl statsScreenshot from Google Search Console Crawl Stats, September 2022

The crawl stats are sorted into:

  • Kilobytes downloaded per day show the number of kilobytes bots download each time they visit the website.
  • Pages crawled per day shows the number of pages the bots crawl per day (low, average, or high).
  • Time spent downloading a page tells you the amount of time bots take to make an HTTP request for the crawl. Less time taken means faster crawling and indexing.

Client-Side Rendering On Default

Ecommerce sites that are built in JS frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue are, by default, set to client-side rendering (CSR).

With this setting, the bots will not be able to see what’s on the page, thus causing rendering and indexing issues.

Large And Unoptimized JS Files

JS code prevents critical website resources from loading quickly. This negatively affects UX and SEO.

Top Optimization Tactics For JavaScript Ecommerce Sites

1. Check If Your JavaScript Has SEO Issues

Here are three quick tests to run on different page templates of your site, namely the homepage, category or product listing pages, product pages, blog pages, and supplementary pages.

URL Inspection Tool

Access the Inspect URL report in your Google Search Console.

GSC overviewScreenshot from Google Search Console, September 2022

Enter the URL you want to test.

enter URL to inspect in GSCScreenshot from Google Search Console, September 2022

Next, press View Tested Page and move to the screenshot of the page. If you see this section blank (like in this screenshot), Google has issues rendering this page.

GSC reports page issuesScreenshot from Google Search Console, September 2022

Repeat these steps for all of the relevant ecommerce page templates shared earlier.

Run A Google Search

Running a site search will help you determine if the URL is in Google’s index.

First, check the no-index and canonical tags. You want to ensure that your canonicals are self-referencing and there’s no index tag on the page.

Next, go to Google search and enter – Site:yourdomain.com inurl:your url

Basics Of JavaScript SEO For Ecommerce: What You Need To KnowScreenshot from search for [Site:target.com inurl:], Google, September 2022
This screenshot shows that Target’s “About Us” page is indexed by Google.

If there’s some issue with your site’s JS, you’ll either not see this result or get a result that’s similar to this, but Google will not have any meta information or anything readable.

site search on googleScreenshot from search for [Site:made.com inurl:hallway], Google, September 2022

site search on googleScreenshot from search for [Site:made.com inurl:homewares], Google, September 2022Go For Content Search

At times, Google may index pages, but the content is unreadable. This final test will help you assess if Google can read your content.

Gather a bunch of content from your page templates and enter it on Google to see the results.

Let’s take some content from Macy’s.

Macy's content

Screenshot from Macy’s, September 2022

Macy's contentScreenshot from search for [alfani essential capri pull-on with tummy control], Google, September 2022No problems here!

But check out what happens with this content on Kroger. It’s a nightmare!

Kruger contentScreenshot from Kruger, September 2022

Kruger on google searchScreenshot from search for [score an $8 s’mores bunder when you buy 1 Hershey], Google, September 2022Though spotting JavaScript SEO problems is more complex than this, these three tests will help you quickly assess if your ecommerce Javascript has SEO issues.

Follow these tests with a detailed JS website audit using an SEO crawler that can help identify if your website failed when executing JS, and if some code isn’t working properly.

For instance, a few SEO crawlers have a list of features that can help you understand this in detail:

  • The “JavaScript performance” report offers a list of all the errors.
  • The “browser performance events” chart shows the time of lifecycle events when loading JS pages. It helps you identify the page elements that are the slowest to load.
  • The  “load time distribution” report shows the pages that are fast or slow. If you click on these data columns, you can further analyze the slow pages in detail.

2. Implement Dynamic Rendering

How your website renders code impacts how Google will index your JS content. Hence, you need to know how JavaScript rendering occurs.

Server-Side Rendering

In this, the rendered page (rendering of pages happens on the server) is sent to the crawler or the browser (client). Crawling and indexing are similar to HTML pages.

But implementing server-side rendering (SSR) is often challenging for developers and can increase server load.

Further, the Time to First Byte (TTFB) is slow because the server renders pages on the go.

One thing developers should remember when implementing SSR is to refrain from using functions operating directly in the DOM.

Client-Side Rendering

Here, the JavaScript is rendered by the client using the DOM. This causes several computing issues when search bots attempt to crawl, render, and index content.

A viable alternative to SSR and CSR is dynamic rendering that switches between client and server-side rendered content for specific user agents.

It allows developers to deliver the site’s content to users who access it using JS code generated in the browser.

However, it presents only a static version to the bots. Google officially supports implementing dynamic rendering.

Google Search Central service to browser and crawlerImage from Google Search Central, September 2022

To deploy dynamic rendering, you can use tools like Prerender.io or Puppeteer.

These can help you serve a static HTML version of your Javascript website to the crawlers without any negative impact on CX.

Dynamic rendering is a great solution for ecommerce websites that usually hold lots of content that change frequently or rely on social media sharing (containing embeddable social media walls or widgets).

3. Route Your URLs Properly

JavaScript frameworks use a router to map clean URLs. Hence, it is critical to update page URLs when updating content.

For instance, JS frameworks like Angular and Vue generate URLs with a hash (#) like www.example.com/#/about-us

Such URLs are ignored by Google bots during the indexing process. So, it is not advisable to use #.

Instead, use static-looking URLs like http://www.example.com/about-us

4. Adhere To The Internal Linking Protocol

Internal links help Google efficiently crawl the site and highlight the important pages.

A poor linking structure can be harmful to SEO, especially for JS-heavy sites.

One common issue we’ve encountered is when ecommerce sites use JS for links that Google cannot crawl, such as onclick or button-type links.

Check this out:

<a href=”/important-link”onclick=”changePage(‘important-link’)”>Crawl this</a>

If you want Google bots to discover and follow your links, ensure they are plain HTML.

Google recommends interlinking pages using HTML anchor tags with href attributes and asks webmasters to avoid JS event handlers.

5. Use Pagination

Pagination is critical for JS-rich ecommerce websites with thousands of products that retailers often opt to spread across several pages for better UX.

Allowing users to scroll infinitely may be good for UX, but isn’t necessarily SEO-friendly. This is because bots don’t interact with such pages and cannot trigger events to load more content.

Eventually, Google will reach a limit (stop scrolling) and leave. So, most of your content gets ignored, resulting in a poor ranking.

Make sure you use <a href> links to allow Google to see the second page of pagination.

For instance, use this:

<a href=”https://example.com/shoes/”>

6. Lazy Load Images

Though Google supports lazy loading, it doesn’t scroll through content when visiting a page.

It resizes the page’s virtual viewport, making it longer during the crawling process. And because the  “scroll” event listener isn’t triggered, this content isn’t rendered.

Thus, if you have images below the fold, like most ecommerce websites, it’s critical to lazy load them, allowing Google to see all your content.

7. Allow Bots To Crawl JS

This may seem obvious, but on several occasions, we’ve seen ecommerce sites accidentally blocking JavaScript (.js) files from being crawled.

This will cause JS SEO issues, as the bots will not be able to render and index that code.

Check your robots.txt file to see if the JS files are open and available for crawling.

8. Audit Your JS Code

Finally, ensure you audit your JavaScript code to optimize it for the search engines.

Use tools like Google Webmaster Tools, Chrome Dev Tools, and Ahrefs and an SEO crawler like JetOctopus to run a successful JS SEO audit.

Google Search Console

This platform can help you optimize your site and monitor your organic performance. Use GSC to monitor Googlebot and WRS activity.

For JS websites, GSC allows you to see problems in rendering. It reports crawl errors and issues notifications for missing JS elements that have been blocked for crawling.

Chrome Dev Tools

These web developer tools are built into Chrome for ease of use.

The platform lets you inspect rendered HTML (or DOM) and the network activity of your web pages.

From its Network tab, you can easily identify the JS and CSS resources loaded before the DOM.

Chrome Dev ToolsScreenshot from Chrome Dev Tools, September 2022

Ahrefs

Ahrefs allows you to effectively manage backlink-building, content audits, keyword research, and more. It can render web pages at scale and allows you to check for JavaScript redirects.

You can also enable JS in Site Audit crawls to unlock more insights.

ahrefs add javascript for site auditScreenshot from Ahrefs, September 2022

The Ahrefs Toolbar supports JavaScript and shows a comparison of HTML to rendered versions of tags.

JetOctopus SEO Crawler And Log Analyzer

JetOctopus is an SEO crawler and log analyzer that allows you to effortlessly audit common ecommerce SEO issues.

Since it can view and render JS as a Google bot, ecommerce marketers can solve JavaScript SEO issues at scale.

Its JS Performance tab offers comprehensive insights into JavaScript execution – First Paint, First Contentful Paint, and page load.

It also shares the time needed to complete all JavaScript requests with the JS errors that need immediate attention.

GSC integration with JetOctopus can help you see the complete dynamics of your site performance.

Ryte UX Tool

Ryte is another tool that’s capable of crawling and checking your javascript pages. It will render the pages and check for errors, helping you troubleshoot issues and check the usability of your dynamic pages.

seoClarity

seoClarity is an enterprise platform with many features. Like the other tools, it features dynamic rendering, letting you check how the javascript on your website performs.

Summing Up

Ecommerce sites are real-world examples of dynamic content injected using JS.

Hence, ecommerce developers rave about how JS lets them create highly interactive ecommerce pages.

On the other hand, many SEO pros dread JS because they’ve experienced declining organic traffic after their site started relying on client-side rendering.

Though both are right, the fact is that JS-reliant websites too can perform well in the SERP.

Follow the tips shared in this guide to get one step closer to leveraging JavaScript in the most effective way possible while upholding your site’s ranking in the SERP.

If you are interested in original article by Serge Bezdorodov you can find it here

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9 Things To Optimize On An Ecommerce Site To Drive Sales

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Need to boost sales on your online shop? Here are 9 areas to cover so you can make the customer journey smoother from start to finish.

When your ecommerce sales need a boost, it can be difficult to know where you should focus, what to change, and how an optimized site should function.

Below is a list of nine things to start with that are sure to drive incremental sales:

1. Smart Use Of The Intrusive (And Often Annoying) “Pop Up”

Many ecommerce (and non-ecommerce, for that matter) sites will serve you a pop-up the moment you arrive.

Some are necessary – like privacy compliance – while others are strictly promotional.

Pop-ups can work quite well, as long as you follow some basic common sense guidelines:

  • Just because you may have a native mobile app for shopping, doesn’t mean you need to prompt your visitor to download it as soon as they get to the site.
  • Don’t ask someone to take a survey the minute they get to the website. Wait until they either complete a purchase or leave without doing so.
  • If you want to collect an opt-in email, make it worthwhile to the visitor. Provide them with an incentive that will bring near-instant gratification on an immediate purchase.
  • Make sure you do not use the types of pop-ups that can cause you trouble. Here’s a recent Search Engine Journal post that goes into greater detail on pop-ups.

2. Site Search Vigilance

Your visitors are telling you exactly what they want when performing a site search query.

Make sure you’re paying attention and acting accordingly.

Here are a few basics to ensure the site search experience is helpful to your customers.

  • Review the queries on a regular basis so you know what the most popular searches are.
  • Test the search suggestions and subsequent results page for yourself on top queries (especially when a new product is added to the shop).
  • Use the search query data to guide your merchandising, promotion, and product decisions. Remember, your visitors are telling you exactly what they want, so respond accordingly and profit.
  • For a more in-depth study of onsite searchhere is a recap of a recent Search Engine Journal webinar (along with an option to watch a replay).

3. Cross-Sell Relevancy

This is a big one that’s often overlooked.

There’s no easier way to increase your AOV (average order value) than to make a relevant suggestion that triggers an impulse addition to a planned purchase.

You’ll see these displayed in some of the following ways throughout the purchase process:

  • People also viewed.
  • Customers also bought.
  • You may also like.
  • Related items.
  • Items that go well with this.
  • Recommended for you.

If your site is built to cross-sell items, make sure you’re consistently looking at the experience to ensure it’s optimal for your customer and looking at the data to monitor the attachment rate.

4.  Site Speed

This one should be obvious: fast sites = good. Slow sites = bad.

If you’re using a hosted platform (for example Shopify and BigCommerce) for your ecommerce shop, make sure any apps you use aren’t slowing the site down and always ensure your image sizes aren’t crippling load times.

If you’re using a non-hosted platform (for example Magento and Woo-Commerce), then your hosting plan will factor heavily into the overall site speed.

Make sure you have the right plan, data, and resources necessary to ensure the site speed is optimal.

5. Product Listing Page

The experience you provide to your customers viewing the product listing page may very well be the difference between them adding an item to a shopping cart and exiting the site altogether.

Some very critical items to consider include:

Default Sort And Available Options

Is the listing page sorted by newest first?

Best sellers? Lowest price?

Most relevant? Featured Items? Trending?

Ask yourself what makes the most sense to the user as a default setting and what other ways visitors will want to sort your product selection.

Sorting Filters

This is all about ensuring you have the proper product attributes to allow customers to filter from.

Examples of this include size, color, style, price, rating, release date, compatibility, etc.

The attributes you need will vary based on what you’re selling, but make sure to pay attention to how customers look at the product.

Keyword research and site search data can provide helpful insights here.

Availability & Delivery Timeframes

This matters – especially now.

In the age of supply chain issues and product scarcity, availability often plays a greater role than price.

If you have it in stock for immediate shipment, you just increased your chances of getting the sale.

Make sure your ecommerce shop is set up to show stock availability and delivery estimates to customers prior to purchase.

Pricing & Promotions

This one is simple: Make your discounts clear for your customers.

If 20% off means the price goes from $53.99 to $43.19, do the math for the customer instead of just stating “20% off.”

6. Product Detail Page

What information is useful to your customer in determining whether a product is the right option or not?

Start a list and begin executing.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure your product detail page is optimized

  • Use Case scenarios.
  • Images from every angle of the product.
  • Ability to zoom into an image.
  • Video overview.
  • A/R experience.
  • Inventory, stock status, or delivery timeframe.
  • Q & A.
  • Moderated reviews.
  • Detailed specifications.

The biggest takeaway here is to understand what will matter to your customers and make sure to include it.

Take something simple like a shirt, for example.

Customers may care about things like:

  • Cleaning instructions (dry clean, machine, hand wash, separately, cold hang dry, etc.).
  • Materials.
  • Country of origin.
  • Sustainability/environmental friendliness.
  • Ethical manufacturing.
  • Wrinkle care.
  • Flammability.
  • Sizing chart.
  • Dyes.
  • Etc.

Important: The list above for shirts is neither complete nor applicable to all. If you’re selling a cheap t-shirt with a goofy slogan on it, that audience will care about something very different than a high-end top.

7. The Shopping Cart

Think of the shopping cart as a critical point in the purchase journey where your customer will either affirm the decision and press forward, or start to second guess themselves.

Here are a few tactics to employ to help ease the customer’s anxiety:

  • Make sure you have an easy path back to the product detail page so the customer can research any details necessary.
  • Crystal clear and customer-friendly return policy.
  • Clarity on pricing/savings. Again, don’t give the customer a math problem to solve.
  • Clear & flexible fulfillment options (For example: Ship to home, ship to store, pickup in-store).
  • Relevant cross-sells (see #3).
  • Set Up an abandoned cart program where a logged-in customer gets an email if a product is left in a cart for X period of time.

8. Checkout Process

Here are some things you want to make sure you have in place to ensure the customer completes the checkout process after making it this far:

  • Ability to easily do a “guest checkout.”
  • Clear checkout instructions so the customer doesn’t get lost or overwhelmed.
  • Include a free/low-cost shipping option (even if it’s a “slow boat” option, you want to give the customer a free option).
  • Make sure a customer can take advantage of their browser’s auto-fill capabilities to reduce friction.
  • Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options. You might think your product price point isn’t high enough to bother with BNPL options, but you would be surprised how popular of an option this is for sub-$100 orders.

9. Mobile Web Experience Must-Haves

10 years ago, a mobile ecommerce audit had its own separate checklist.

Today, there’s no separate checklist.

Everything noted in points one to eight applies equally to the mobile experience.

The action item is clear: Test everything on mobile to ensure a pleasant experience for your customer.

Conclusion

While focusing on these items cannot guarantee success, your ecommerce revenue will be far more likely to grow by optimizing the areas covered in this post.

If you’re just starting out, use this article as a checklist to put you on the path to growth and in a year you’ll look back and thank yourself.

If you are interested in original article by Adam Proehl you can find it here

How-to-optimize-your-ecommerce-site-for-better-indexing

How to optimize your ecommerce site for better indexing

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Is your ecommerce site underperforming? Learn how optimizing your product pages can help you exceed the quality threshold for indexing.

Over the next couple of years, how search engines index content will likely change.

I’ve covered this viewpoint in Why 100% indexing isn’t possible, and why that’s OK. Still, this ultimately means that we need to work smarter in competitive markets to create better value propositions and uniqueness to move above the ranking quality threshold.

For different websites, indexing key pages can mean different things. But for ecommerce stores, it boils down to two types of pages:

  • The category page or product listing page (PLP).
  • The individual product page or product details page (PDP).

Historically, many ecommerce websites have implemented similar strategies – to bulk out the category page with some form of “SEO content” (that mostly fell to the bottom of the page) and an optimized H1.

Individual product pages, on the other hand, often receive less attention. A few key products might have product descriptions written. But most of the time, the page content is left to the product information management (PIM) solution to populate.

Why indexing signals matter in ecommerce

First, I want to clarify that when I’m talking about “indexing signals,” I’m not talking about the page-level indexing signals we can control, such as canonicals and noindex tags. 

For the most part, I’d like to think these are correct, as related issues should be found in the first five minutes of looking through any crawl data.

I’m referring to the signals we can generate when Google (and other search engines) are processing your website and the content on individual product pages to ascertain whether it would be a “good” document to rank within search results pages and for which queries.

The decision on whether the page (the individual HTML document) is good enough to index comes down to the notion of a quality threshold. Search engines need to have a quality threshold, as indexing the entire web is impossible.

In ecommerce, the quality threshold bar will differ between industries (e.g., the threshold will be lower for fast fashion than for home medical equipment).

A mistake I often see is that the quality threshold is mistaken for E-A-T, when it’s a wider combination of:

  • The source of the content (e.g., brand, entity).
  • The topical relevancy, authority, and breadth of the content.
  • E-A-T (as we know and understand it).
  • Historical data and factors.
  • Competitor content and value propositions for the same search queries.

Google also isn’t linear in how it presents SERPs. For example, the current SERP in the U.S. for the 12,000 monthly search volume query [solar charger] has a SERP containing:

  • Google Shopping results.
  • A Top Stories carousel.
  • Four ecommerce results, including Amazon and BestBuy.
  • Five informational results (a couple of them look affiliate).

This matters because Google is clearly catering to multiple common interpretations and intents for the query.

By providing mixed results, it also needs to have different thresholds per result source type – as it’s impossible to compare the Amazon result to a random product comparison website result.

This is also why keyword difficulty scores in third-party tools are becoming increasingly redundant for me. 

Internal anchor texts are important and, from my experience, are often underoptimized and left as generic calls to action (CTA).

Examples of generic CTAs include “click here” and “find out more.” Google calls this out in a 2008 Search Central article as a “not-very-optimal way of linking.”

Google’s John Mueller has said on record that the anchor text used for internal links gives Google context around what the page being linked to is about.

Descriptive anchor text relevant to the content they’re placed in and relevant to the page you’re linking to can help Google better understand:

  • Where the content piece sits in your domain ecosystem.
  • Whether it should be ranked for a certain query over another page. (As much as we target keywords with specific pages, pages will rank for multiple keywords intended or otherwise.)

Improving your product detail pages for better indexing

A lot of ecommerce websites don’t invest enough in their product pages.

In competitive markets, most of these PDPs don’t offer unique value propositions and fall below the quality threshold for indexing.

There are several ways to enhance your product pages and leverage the business and brand’s unique selling proposition (USP).

Dynamic metadata and product information

Let’s say your brand’s USP focuses on offering quality products at lower prices, and search terms gravitate around “budget” and “cheap.” 

To enforce the lower price in the page content and boost click-through from the SERPs, you can include dynamic elements in the PDP title tag, H2, and body copy to pull through the current price.

Content enrichments

Many product pages tend to follow templated product descriptions, which is understandable as there’s only so much you can write about specific products. 

However, you can enrich product pages through expert reviews or advice sections and tie them in with your website’s E-A-T strategy and other content areas.

Championing among variables

Some product lines have the same product but with multiple iterations and releases. Some of these come over several years (e.g., the iPhone) and others over the course of months (e.g., Pokemon cards). 

The core product name doesn’t often change, only the version number or name, but you might still want all versions available to users. 

One tactic I’ve used here is to create a “champion” version among the near duplicates – typically the most recent or most valuable product. I then add internal links between the versions so search engines can better understand the relationship between each one.

Rather than having the product versions randomly compete for indexing, you’re signaling a champion for more consistency.

Wrapping up
The methods listed above shouldn’t be read as a “do everything checklist.”

Instead, you should leverage the tactics according to what works for your brand, your website (stack), and how much needs to be done to tip the needle in your favor.

Ultimately, optimizing your product detail pages for indexing sets your ecommerce site for success in the SERPs.

If you are interested in original article by Dan Taylor you can find it here